Paddling his kayak 75 grueling days, at a cost of 42 pounds,
Peter Bray made transatlantic history
Peter Bray paddled and paddled, more wearily than merrily, from
June 23 until Sept. 5. When he made landfall in Ireland, Bray
became the first person to cross the Atlantic in a kayak. After
setting out from Newfoundland in his 24-foot craft, the
44-year-old college lecturer lost radio power, 42 pounds and,
occasionally, his way during a stormy 3,200-mile crossing that
made him feel, in his words, like "a toad in a tumble dryer."
Says Bray, "I went all over the place with the weather, north,
south, south, north. It was soul-destroying when I was told that
I had gone backward 60 miles in one night."
The voyage was Bray's second attempt at traversing the Atlantic.
Last summer, less than 30 hours after he had set off from St.
John's, his boat capsized, and he clung to a life raft in the
freezing North Atlantic before rescuers arrived 31 hours later.
A native of Newport, Wales, and a former soldier in the British
army's Special Air Service Boat Troop, Bray says his military
training is the reason he survived.
On his latest trip, sharks, supertankers and, as one friend put
it, the very real possibility that he could "disappear without a
trace" were but a few of the perils he faced. Even his landing
went awry. As his mother, his girlfriend and a party of
well-wishers waited for him in a thick fog in Killybegs, Bray was
carried by the current 60 miles down the coast, where he washed
ashore at the tiny village of Porturlin. "There was nobody
about," he says. "Then two guys came out of a house, and I
shouted at them. They thought I was a bit odd. They saw this
strange-looking guy arriving in a weird boat, and then he falls
over. And I hadn't even had any alcohol."
After a spot of tea with the lads, both of them fishermen, Bray
telephoned a support crew, which dispatched a helicopter to
carry him to his awaiting party, with whom he hoisted a few
pints. Safely in the Auld Sod, a little older, a little more
sodden, Bray reaffirmed his pledge to use his newfound fame as a
vehicle to raise 100,000[pounds] (about $150,000) for children's
hospices. As for his own reward? Well, he's not going to Disney
World. Says Bray's girlfriend, Maria Newton, gleefully, "We're
going kayaking in Ecuador!"
Diana Golden Brosnihan 1963-2001
When she persuaded the U.S. Ski Association in 1985 to allow
disabled skiers to compete in USSA-sanctioned events, Diana
Golden Brosnihan had no illusions about defeating her able-bodied
opponents. She simply wanted, as her citation in the Women's
Sports Foundation Hall of Fame reads, "the ski world to treat all
athletes the same, regardless of ability, or in her case,
disability." Brosnihan, who lost her right leg to bone cancer at
age 12, hated the "courageous" label that was often affixed to
"That word is my pet peeve," Brosnihan told SI in 1990. "It
belittles our ability--to pass off what we do as courageous. I
never wanted to be thought of as just having courage. I wanted to
be recognized as a top-notch athlete."
Brosnihan, who succumbed to cancer on Aug. 25 at age 38, was
certainly that. In addition to her 10 world and 19 national
championships between 1986 and '90, the Massachusetts native won
a gold medal in the disabled skiing competition at the '88
Winter Olympics in Calgary. Shortly after her retirement from
competitive skiing in '90, she became an ardent rock climber,
scaling 14,411-foot Mount Rainier. But until her death, her most
avid pursuit was changing perceptions of the disabled. "Think
about women," she said, "people used to pat us on the back and
say, 'Isn't that sweet? She's competing.' Now they don't do that
anymore. It's the same with the disabled. People treat us with
Mountain biking pioneer Neil Murdoch was arrested by a U.S.
marshal in Taos, N. Mex., last week, nearly 30 years after he
went on the lam to avoid drug-smuggling charges in New Mexico.
According to The Denver Post, Murdoch changed his name to
Richard Bannister after vanishing and settled in Colorado, where
he opened a mountain bike shop in the mid-1970s. About three
years ago he moved to Taos, where on Sept. 5, acting on a tip,
the feds tracked down Murdoch--who's now in his 60s--and charged
him with a violation of his 1973 bond. He has pleaded not
guilty.... The first half of the Association of Surfing
Professionals season has produced one of the tightest races in
recent memory. The next six weeks, a grueling stretch of events
in Portugal, France and Spain, should shake out the top of the
pack. C.J. Hobgood (left) is the current leader, but at least
five surfers are closing in on him.... Bill Johnson, the 1984
Olympic downhill champion, returned home to Gresham, Ore., last
week to continue recuperating from the near fatal brain injury
he suffered during a warmup run at the U.S. Alpine Championships
in March. Johnson had been undergoing rehab at the Centre for
Neuro Skills in Bakersfield, Calif; his in-patient medical
coverage recently expired.
That a monarch is an accomplished rally car racer, mountaineer
and canyoneer is pretty cool in itself. That a monarch would
spend five days with a television crew demonstrating his prowess
in those sports (and others) is royally dope. In Jordan: The
Royal Tour, an eye-opening one-hour documentary that will air on
Sept. 24 on the Travel Channel, King Abdullah plays the role of
gnarly tour guide, trumpeting everything from sandboarding in
the mountains of Wadi Rum to scuba diving off Aqaba. Although
the Jordanian leader laments that he is no longer permitted to
skydive (for national security reasons), he does satisfy his
extreme jones in the documentary. His crowning moment comes when
he makes a daring descent through the perilous canyons of Wadi
Climbers who requested permits to climb Mount Everest from the
Nepal side this autumn, the first time in 28 years that climbers
will have skipped the fall season on the 29,035-foot peak.
During the 2001 spring climbing season, more than 100 people
reached the mountain's summit.
For more adventure, go to siadventure.com and check out these
--On the upslope: Snowbasin steps out of the shadow of Park City
--Submarine scare: Are boaters in danger from below?
--Trail guide: complete U.S. National Parks database
A new surfing documentary provides a jaw-dropping look at the
swell hell that is Mavericks
Somewhere between the scene of surfer Peck Euwer excitedly
holding up his mauled board and describing how he's been chomped
at by a great white shark, and the bit where Lance Harriman
merrily recounts getting walloped by a 30-foot wave ("It blew out
the blood vessels in my ear!" he says), you realize that Whipped!
isn't simply about daring surfers but about surfers who are a
little insane. The film documents dangerous days during the
2000-01 big-wave season at Mavericks--the famous break in Half
Moon Bay, Calif.--with footage that includes the shark attack and
people riding waves that are phenomenally high (one stormy day
they rose above 50 feet) and moving phenomenally fast ("The
fastest I've ever gone," more than one veteran says).
Whipped! is dedicated to Jay Moriarity, who died in June while
free diving in the Maldives. In an eerily prophetic interview
Moriarity says that he appreciates life because "we only get to
do it once and not for very long." This sense of imminent danger
carries the viewer along: Whipped! is a gripping documentary
that will please surfers and intrigue nonsurfers in a That's
Incredible! sort of way. Like a punk rock CD, it's something
young surfers will hide from their mamas. --Kostya Kennedy
Faces and Feats
Charley Brackett, Alstead, N.H.
Brackett, 38, won three age-group gold medals at the Whitewater
Open Canoe National Championships in Ohiopyle, Pa. He took first
in the solo formula 16 competition and teamed with Bruce Braman,
40, of Green, N.Y., to win the two-man race and two-man sprint.
Holly Beck, Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Beck, 20, is the National Scholastic Surfing Association women's
champion after scoring a 9.5 in the final round to beat Sena
Seramur, 17, of Hanalei, Hawaii. Before graduating from UC San
Diego this spring, Beck led the school to a fourth-place
Matt Carpenter, Manitou Springs, Colo.
Carpenter, 37, swept the Pikes Peak Ascent and Pikes Peak
Marathon in Manitou Springs, to become the first person to win
the races on back-to-back days. Carpenter, who set the marathon
course record in 1993, won the 13.32-mile ascent in 2:16:13 and
the marathon in 3:53:53.
Submit Faces candidates to siadventure.com/faces.